A synergistic effect in the proliferative response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) can be observed in cultures containing a mixture of mouse CBA/Ca lymph node cells (LNC) and syngeneic CBA/T6T6 thymocytes (ThC) when compared to cultures containing only one cell type. This effect was analyzed, at various days of culture and in LNC-ThC mixtures of different ratios, by comparing the origin of the cells in mitosis (detected by caryotypic analysis), the stimulation of DNA synthesis, the number of blasts, and the percentage of blasts labeled after pulses of [3H]thymidine (detected by autoradiography). The following conclusions were reached: (a) ThC are induced to proliferate by the presence of LNC, while they are almost unresponsive to PHA when cultured alone; and (b) the strongest "synergistic" effect is exerted on LNC, whose proliferation is markedly enhanced. Evidence is presented that this last effect is not specific to the presence of ThC, but results from a dilution of LNC which retards the time when the culture reaches a critical concentration of blasts, above which proliferation progressively stops. Thus, conditions of culture allowing the response to PHA of a low concentration of LNC leads to the most prolonged T-cell proliferation. These observations may be relevant to the types of T-cell interactions, "synergistic" or "suppressive," occurring during in vitro or in vivo immune responses.

This content is only available as a PDF.